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Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

The petition for the cause of canonization of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

Interesting People "Life & Work of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen"

Brief Biography


Abridged from the Archbishop Sheen Cause

1895 – Born on May 8th in El Paso, Illinois, Archbishop Sheen was the eldest of four sons of Newton and Delia (Fulton) Sheen. Though he was baptized Peter John, throughout his life he was known by his mother’s maiden name, Fulton. After his baptism, his mother dedicated him to the Blessed Virgin Mary, a dedication he himself renewed at his First Holy Communion. He lived with his family for a time on a farm outside of Peoria, Illinois.

1900 – His family moved to Peoria in order that young Fulton could enroll in St. Mary’s Cathedral [Parochial] School. He often served at Mass for Bishop Spalding at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception.

1913 – He attended St. Viator’s College in Bourbonnais, Illinois, and after graduation went to St. Paul’s Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota.

1919 – On September 20th, Fulton Sheen was ordained a “Priest forever” for the Diocese of Peoria. At the time of his Priestly Ordination, he made his famous promise to make a daily Eucharistic Holy Hour, which he kept faithfully for the rest of his life.

1920 – After ordination, he began two years of postgraduate studies in Theology at the Catholic University in Washington DC, and another year at the University of Louvain in Belgium.

1923 – He returned to the University of Louvain where he became the first American to receive the Cardinal Mercier Prize for International Philosophy as well as attaining the Aggrege degree with outstanding distinction.

1926 – He began teaching Theology, then Philosophy and Religion at the Catholic University in Washington DC. He was to remain there until 1950. He also began local radio broadcasting in the New York area.

1930 – He began his national radio broadcast, The Catholic Hour, which continued for some 22 years, reaching an estimated four million listeners.

1951 – He was consecrated a Bishop in Rome by Adeodato Giovanni Cardinal Piazza in the Church of Saints John & Paul on June 11, 1951. Pope Pius XII named him titular Bishop of Caeseropolis.  In the Fall of 1951 he began his famous television series entitled, Life is Worth Living. It eventually reached an estimated 30 million viewers each week. He won an Emmy Award for Most Outstanding Television Personality in 1953. His series ran with great success until 1957.

1962 – He attended all of the Vatican Council sessions in Rome, ending in 1965.

1966 – He was named Bishop of the Diocese of Rochester, New York on October 21st.

1969 – He resigned as Bishop of Rochester. As he said, “I am not retiring, only retreading.” Pope Paul VI named him Archbishop of the Titular See of Newport (Wales). The Archbishop remained relatively active, spending the last years of his life chiefly in writing and preaching.

1979 – On October 2nd, Pope John Paul II embraced him in St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The Holy Father said to him, “You have written and spoken well of the Lord Jesus. You are a loyal son of the Church!” On December 9th God called the Archbishop from this life to his eternal reward.

2002 – On September 14th, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints officially opened the Cause for Archbishop Sheen’s Canonization, and conferred on him the title Servant of God.  The Cause is promoted in the Catholic Diocese of Peoria.

February 3, 2008 – The diocesan phase of the inquiry into the life and works of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen came to a close.

April 15, 2008 – The investigation into Sheen’s heroic virtue was officially opened in Rome with a ceremony at the offices of the Vatican Congregation for the Causes of Saints.  

May 25, 2011 - The Positio (a summation of the life and works of Archbishop Fulton Sheen) was presented to the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI by Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC of the Catholic Diocese of Peoria in Illinois.

June 28, 2012 - Pope Benedict XVI declared Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen ‘VENERABLE”

September 9, 2012 - The Most Reverend Daniel R. Jenky, CSC celebrated the Mass of Thanksgiving for the declaration of Archbishop Fulton Sheen as Venerable at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Peoria, IL. 


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